October 1, 2002–March 31, 2003
Office of the Inspector General
THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
The FBI is the principal investigative arm of the Department with authority to investigate federal criminal violations that have not been specifically assigned by Congress to another federal agency. The FBI's investigative jurisdiction encompasses more than 200 federal laws, including civil rights, counterterrorism, foreign counterintelligence, organized crime, violent crime, and financial crime. FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., coordinates the activities of 56 field offices, approximately 400 satellite offices, and more than 40 foreign liaison posts that work abroad on criminal matters within the FBI's jurisdiction. The FBI has approximately 27,800 employees: 11,400 special agents and more than 16,400 employees who perform professional, administrative, technical, or clerical operations.
During this reporting period, the OIG continued to conduct aggressive oversight of FBI programs and personnel using the resources of the OIG's staff of auditors, inspectors, investigators, and attorneys.
THE FBI'S MANAGEMENT OF IT INVESTMENTS
The OIG issued an audit report that reviewed the FBI's management of IT investments. We examined the FBI's efforts in developing enterprise architecture and project management functions. We also assessed Trilogy, the FBI's largest IT infrastructure and office automation project, to determine how IT management practices affected the project's progress. In addition, we assessed the FBI's IT-related strategic planning and performance measurement activities.
We concluded that the FBI had not effectively managed its IT investments because it did not fully implement the management processes associated with successful IT investments. We found that the FBI did not have fully functioning IT investment boards engaged in all phases of IT investment management and did not follow a disciplined process of tracking and overseeing each project's cost and schedule milestones. The FBI failed to document a complete inventory of existing IT systems and projects and did not consistently identify the business needs for each IT project. In addition, the FBI did not have a fully established process for selecting new IT project proposals.
Because it had not fully implemented the critical processes associated with effective IT investment management, the FBI continued to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on IT projects without adequate assurance that these projects would meet intended goals. For example, when examining Trilogy, we found that the lack of critical IT investment management processes contributed to missed milestones and led to uncertainties about cost, schedule, and technical goals. We also concluded that the FBI's IT strategic planning and IT performance measurement were inadequate, the FBI's strategic plan did not include goals for IT investment management, and its strategic and performance plans were not consistent with the Department's performance plan.
FBI management recognized that its past methods to manage IT projects were deficient and recently committed to changing those practices. Nonetheless, we concluded that the FBI must take further actions to ensure that it can implement the fundamental processes necessary to build an IT investment foundation, as well as the more mature processes associated with highly effective IT investment management. These actions include (1) fully developing and documenting its new IT investment management process, (2) requiring increased participation from IT program managers and users, and (3) further developing project management and enterprise architecture functions. We made 30 recommendations, including:
ALLEGATIONS OF A DOUBLE STANDARD OF DISCIPLINE IN THE FBI
The OIG examined complaints by various FBI employees that the FBI's system of employee discipline for misconduct was unfair because FBI senior managers were treated more leniently than lower-level employees. As part of our investigation, we reviewed the disciplinary decisions made in several cases, including "Ruby Ridge" and "Potts retirement party," two well-known cases that generated significant controversy inside and outside the FBI about the discipline imposed on FBI employees.
We concluded that the FBI suffers from a strong, and not unreasonable, perception among employees that a double standard of discipline exists within the FBI. This perception was fostered in large part by the existence of a dual system of discipline that existed prior to August 2000 in which disciplinary decisions for Senior Executive Service (SES) members were made only by other SES members. Our review also found several troubling cases in which the discipline imposed for SES employees appeared unduly lenient and less severe than discipline in similar cases involving non-SES employees.
Revisions to the disciplinary system in August 2000, which abolished the separate SES disciplinary process, will correct some of the problems with the system. We also believe that the Attorney General's decision in July 2001 to expand the jurisdiction of the OIG to investigate misconduct in the FBI will help ensure that misconduct by high-level officials is not treated more leniently than misconduct by other employees. The OIG now investigates most allegations of misconduct against senior FBI officials.
The report concluded that several additional issues should be considered by the FBI and Congress to further reduce the reality or the perception of a double standard of discipline in the FBI. The OIG made 11 recommendations to assist the FBI in this regard.
EVALUATION STANDARDS AND PRACTICES AT THE FBI ACADEMY'S NEW AGENT TRAINING PROGRAM
At the FBI director's request, the OIG examined the evaluation standards and practices used by the FBI's New Agent Training Program and identified a number of weaknesses in the FBI Academy's evaluation standards and practices. Those weaknesses included testing methods in the academic units that appeared to be insufficiently rigorous, inadequate instructional design and overall absence of instructor training, inconsistent and inadequate methodologies for communicating and documenting new agent trainees' performance deficiencies and suitability issues, a failure to distinguish between performance evaluations and "counseling," and inadequate staffing levels.
The FBI director also requested that the OIG review the operation of the New Agent Review Board (NARB), a fact-finding process occasionally used to review recommendations for removal of new agent trainees from the program. We identified a number of concerns about NARBs, such as the grounds for initiating a NARB, the timing and content of the notice to new agent trainees of the decision to convene a NARB, the failure to uniformly require witnesses to link their testimony to the specific deficiency that prompted the NARB, and the reliance on peer evaluations to assess suitability.
In our review, we made a series of recommendations aimed at clarifying the performance evaluation standards for each instructional unit, distinguishing performance evaluations from counseling, communicating performance concerns or suitability on a more timely basis, and improving instructor training. With respect to the operation of the NARBs, we made recommendations designed to provide new agent trainees with basic elements of notice and opportunity to reply and to enhance the reliability of the NARB's fact-finding function.
During this reporting period, the OIG received 362 complaints involving the FBI. The most common allegations made against FBI employees included job performance failure, waste and misuse of government property, and improper release of information. The vast majority of complaints dealt with less serious issues, and the OIG referred these allegations to the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 54 open cases of alleged misconduct against FBI employees. The criminal investigations cover a wide range of offenses, including theft of government property, improper release of law enforcement information, and improper relationships with informants. The administrative investigations include serious allegations of misconduct, including allegations against high-level employees. Following are some of the cases completed during this reporting period.
THE FBI'S HANDLING OF INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION PRIOR TO THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS
At the FBI director's request, the OIG is reviewing issues related to the FBI's handling of intelligence information prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The investigation is focusing on, among other things, how the FBI handled an electronic communication written by its Phoenix Division in July 2001 regarding extremists attending civil aviation schools in Arizona, the FBI's handling of the Moussaoui investigation, and other issues related to the FBI's handling of information or intelligence before September 11 that might relate to the terrorist attacks.
THE DEPARTMENT'S PERFORMANCE IN PREVENTING, DETECTING, AND INVESTIGATING THE ESPIONAGE ACTIVITIES OF ROBERT PHILIP HANSSEN
The OIG is completing a comprehensive report detailing its examination of the Department's performance in preventing, detecting, and investigating the espionage activities of former FBI special agent Robert Philip Hanssen. This review, initiated at the request of the Attorney General and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, examines Hanssen's career and espionage during his two decades with the FBI, as well as the FBI's efforts during that period to uncover espionage in the FBI.
THE FBI'S LEGAL ATTACHÉ PROGRAM
The Legal Attaché program was created to gain greater cooperation with international police partners in support of the FBI's mission. The program has grown substantially over the past few years, from offices in 23 countries in 1993 to offices in 44 countries in 2001. This audit is assessing the effectiveness, efficiency, and cost of the program; determining the types of activities performed by attachés to identify potential overlap and duplication of efforts with other law enforcement agencies; and examining the performance measures used to evaluate the program.
REVIEW OF FBI CASEWORK
The FBI investigates more than 200 categories of federal crimes and monitoring activities that threaten the nation's security. As a result, FBI activities range from investigating actual and potential terrorist acts to investigations of kidnappings, bank robberies, and white-collar crimes. This audit is examining trends in the FBI's allocation of resources to investigate the categories of crimes under its jurisdiction and the types and number of cases investigated.
FBI LABORATORY DNA ANALYSIS
The OIG is reviewing the failure of a former technician in the FBI Laboratory DNA Analysis Unit I to complete steps designed to detect contamination in the analysis process. In more than 100 cases covering approximately two years, the technician failed to include control samples in her production of forensic DNA profiles. In addition, with the assistance of nationally known DNA scientists, the OIG is conducting a broader assessment of DNA Analysis Unit protocols and procedures to determine if other vulnerabilities exist in its operations.